India has two great loves: sports and Bollywood. It is a language that unites the whole country and brings such a diverse nation to life through a unified feeling. The Indian sports industry is a highly relevant platform for interactions, often having the ability to spread a message globally. So it’s no surprise that marketing through sporting events is becoming more and more popular today.
Imagine the billboards you see while driving down the highway. Go back some 30-40 years and you’ll hear stories of how actors like Amitabh Bachchan and Dharmendra ruled billboards, advertising across brands, banking on the adulation of an average Indian for Bollywood. . Cut to the present, you’ll find cricketers like Virat Kohli, MS Dhoni and the Pandya brothers splashed across realistic commercials. Not just cricket. India’s growing love of sports stars has seen the eclipsed popularity of commuters like PV Sindhu and athletes like Neeraj Chopra. The sport transcends Bollywood in many ways, giving us relatable idols who have had humble backgrounds.
Current sporting events in India are more than just competitive events; they’re more carnival extravaganzas with viewers celebrating a common cause: entertainment. It attracts people from all walks of life, and it becomes a platform where a brand can successfully create a relationship with its customers. The sports field helps create a unique connection and following like no other. In no other mode of marketing can you attract attention as effectively as sports. This is where sports marketing cuts the cake.
Like moths to a flame: the power of the field
The sports ground is like a temple that can attract millions of followers, thus contributing to the desired result. It is the best advertising space for startups as they get wide exposure at an affordable price.
Startups are under great pressure to scale, build brand awareness and increase profitability. To achieve this, it becomes very important to be visible in large-scale events that attract millions of people. TV and print ads don’t always guarantee optimal viewership. At sporting events, punctuating the breaks with your brand logo ensures visibility. Sporting events simplify them and establish connection and engagement with such a wide audience. Whether it’s IPL, Kabbadi tournaments, or football matches, these events draw millions into a pool that brands can tap into, create recall, and ultimately drive conversion.
In today’s era, sports marketing offers a variety of opportunities. Fans enjoy the games – in the stadium, on their televisions, and now even more on demand on their mobile phones. Each new format has expanded the marketer’s basket.
Think long term
With famous sportsmen endorsing established brands for startups in various industries ranging from steel, BFSI, automobiles, etc., their potential in the marketing scenario has become immense. A new and promising athlete or sports personality backing a startup means tapping into a new audience and also paving the way for new product lines in new geographies.
Pandemic or not, the show must go on
The game of sports marketing is constantly evolving. A marketing manager never disrupts but engages with potential customers. So while the mode of engagement has changed, the core remains the same.
In fact, chat platforms have evolved now. Instead of running ads, we have the option to speak directly with a sports fan. Plus, with athletes so active on social media, the interaction has become so much more authentic. The ground is now ripe for sports marketing. Companies, especially startups, that do it the right way will be able to become leaders in their respective industries, driving engagements towards conversions and creating an indelible mark with innovative marketing disruptions.
Ashish Mishra is EVP, Marketing at ACKO. The opinions expressed are personal.
Note to readers: Storyboard18’s new Month In Focus initiative shines a light on themes and topics that are driving marketers to reshape and rethink the way brands engage with customers today. Our first theme is Just Sports, a special sports marketing spotlight brought to you by Sports18. We bring you stories of how marketers are harnessing the power of technology, innovation and creativity in sports to create powerful storytelling in campaigns that increase audience affinity and loyalty. . From traditional sports platforms around cricket to emerging games and the rise of esports, we get leading voices from the worlds of marketing and sports to give us precise and timely insight into forward-looking marketing practices. . Plus, tune in for analysis that will surface insights and strategies that help brands improve experiences and storytelling with authentic collaborations. So watch this space for Just Sports.
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